Temperatures dropped into the mid-30s Thursday with a thin smattering of rain glazing over Huntsville.

The cold snap is expected to continue into Saturday until a new system arrives and pushes warmer weather into the area.

Storms rolling through the Northwest and Rockies blew through the southern Plains and Midwest, bringing the first significant ice and snow of the season.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings from Texas to Illinois through this morning.

Freezing temperatures and snow, sleet, freezing rain combined to slicken roads with ice and snow in much of the Panhandle, South Plains and Red River Valley.

As much as 7 inches of snow fell overnight in Amarillo and other parts of the Panhandle. It snowed as far west as El Paso, where snow remained on the western slope of the Franklin Mountains.

Motorists in the Waco and Wichita Falls areas faced treacherous roads and bridges, the Texas Department of Transportation said.

Midland and the San Angelo also got light snow.

There were 77 accidents in Lubbock from midnight Wednesday until mid-morning Thursday.

A trip across the city that would usually takes 20 minutes stretched to an hour, said Clay Ender, who works for a heating service company.

“There were so many cars spinning out of control,” he said. “They couldn’t get any traction.”

By Thursday afternoon, some of the snow in the Lubbock area was melting and no more precipitation was expected, said Jerry English of the National Weather Service in Lubbock.

Further north in Amarillo, 7.2 inches of snow fell overnight at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport.

Airlines canceled 250 departures from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The cancellations were aimed at allowing more time to de-ice all departing aircraft Thursday, said airport spokesman Ken Capps.

In an e-mail, Capps said the cancellations will be spread over all carriers that serve DFW.

More than 1,000 flights depart from DFW every day, but Fort Worth-based American Airlines would be most affected since it has the most flights at the airport, Capps said.

“I’m trying to get to Washington Reagan. I drove 25 miles to get to the airport and it was just rain ... the 11:30 they tried to put me on was canceled while she was booking me,” said Tim Kelley at DFW Airport, who was trying to get another flight.

A few Southwest Airlines flights from Dallas Love Field were delayed and the carrier was preparing for the possibility of additional delays or cancellations.

At least four accidents snarled Interstate 20 between Dallas and Fort Worth.

In one of those wrecks, a pickup truck rolled and landed on its side on a guard rail, prompting temporary closure of two lanes.

Traffic slowed to a crawl at the stack of highway interchanges in Dallas known as the High Five when three cars were involved in a fender-bender on the icy roadway.

Nearly 3,000 homes and businesses in the Dallas-Fort worth area lost power, said Carol Peters, a spokeswoman for TXU Electric Delivery.

South Central Texas was to remain under a freeze warning until this morning.

Many area cities were facing a wind advisory Thursday afternoon.

Forecasters also issued a winter weather advisory for parts of East Texas for Thursday. North and West Texas were under a winter storm warning until Thursday evening.

Numerous private schools, colleges, universities and rural public school systems canceled or delayed classes in the affected areas Thursday.

Dallas schools canceled evening classes and afternoon activities. Dozens of schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth are also were dismissing students early on Thursday.



— Staff Writer Stewart Smith and the Associated Press contributed to this report.